Area Red Kettle Campaign Suffers Shortfall This Year

After the red kettles were put away and Christmas came and went, the Jamestown Salvation Army found they had not met their goal.

The goal for this year’s Red Kettle Campaign was $116,000, however, the fundraiser only collected $103,000, said Captain John Merchant of the Salvation Army.

“It was quite a shortfall,” Merchant said. “We will have to tighten up our belts, so to speak.”

The organization offers a variety of services to help the community, but will have to strongly evaluate each situation and case due to the loss of about $13,000 from the 2016 campaign. Merchant said it makes it difficult because the needs in the community are just as important, but the funds just aren’t there.

“We’ll have to take a hard look at every situation,” he said. “People often don’t realize that the money they give during the Christmas season really does help throughout the year.”

There were a variety of factors which hurt the campaign this year, such as inclement weather. The campaign lost about four or five days of the kettle collections due to the weather. The campaign also kicked off a week later, which may have hurt the collection.

Yet, the Salvation Army has not given up yet, Merchant said.

“We’re still hoping through the next couple months we can pick up some more resources so we can continue to do the work we’ve been doing,” he said. “Folks can donate to us year-round, and can give whenever they have the resources.”

He said donations via check can be sent into 83 S. Main St. in Jamestown, or if individuals would like to donate with a credit card, they can contact the home office in Syracuse at 315-434-1300 and indicate they would like to donate to the Jamestown Salvation Army.

For those who would like to volunteer or donate goods, Merchant said the organization is always looking for volunteers for the food pantry from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. There are also many food drives and coat drives throughout the year that community members can participate in.

“There are a lot of little things they can do to help us out,” he said.

Merchant said he would like to thank the community for their support, and especially express gratitude for the successful Christmas giveaway this year. All the Angel Tree gifts were received, either through returning a tag or a gift donation and families were also able to receive a turkey or ham dinner for the holidays, as well as a few days worth of food afterward.

“All the children did get at least three presents a piece,” he said.

There are a few misconceptions about the Salvation Army that should be cleared up, Merchant added. To begin with, the Salvation Army is a church and does host a variety of programs throughout the week, including a Wednesday children’s program, a Wednesday senior citizens program at 2 p.m., a home league group for women, Monday Bible studies and also has Sunday school at 10 a.m., with a Holiness Meeting or church service at 11 a.m on Sundays.

Another misconception is that the funds from the local Salvation Army Thrift Store go to the Jamestown Salvation Army. Merchant said the funds from the thrift stores run by the Salvation Army go toward adult rehabilitation. The local store supports the adult rehabilitation center in Erie, Pa. where adults who wish to get clean can then stay for six months to a year for free.

For more information on the Jamestown Salvation Army and the programming available, call  664-4108.